Ew! Sweetener blamed for gummy side effects

Sugar-free gummy bears may have a laxative ingredient in them.
Sugar-free gummy bears may have a laxative ingredient in them.

Reviews for Haribo’s new sugar-free gummy bears have upset the candy community. And people’s intestines.

Voted as the most helpful critical reviewer on Amazon for the product, C. Torok wrote a review on a 5-pound bag of the sugar-free gummy bears he purchased from Amazon.com.

“I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I’ve ever imagined,” Torok said. “Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I’ve had food poisoning from some bad shellfish, and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me.”

Rather than being made with sugar, the gummy bears are made with Lycasin, a hydrogenated glucose and sugar replacement.

Lycasin is a maltitol syrup with properties of taste and sweetness ideal for the preparation of sugar-free syrups, lozenges or jellies, according to manufacturer Roquette.com.

Little known to most gummy bear connoisseurs, however, the side effects of Lycasin are gas, bloating and diarrhea. In some cases the sugar-free gummy bears act as a strong laxative and leave many consumers quite uncomfortable, rushing to long trips in the bathroom.

“I felt violated when it was over, which I think might have been sometime in the early morning of the next day,” Torok wrote. “There was stuff coming out of me that I ate at my wedding in 2005.”

Montana Beifuss, a BYU student, said the gummy bears, however troublesome, have their uses.

“I would maybe use the gummy bears as a practical joke, as long as it wasn’t harmful,” Beifuss said.

Though Lycasin sounds like a horrible sugar replacement after these reviews, it does have health benefits like cavity prevention.

The composition of such maltitol syrups was specifically developed to generate very little acid production when in contact with the plaque bacteria; this means that they are guaranteed not to induce cavities, according to Roquette.com.

“I don’t think I would ever try the gummy bears myself, unless of course I needed a tasty laxative,” said Kathryn Arbon, a BYU nursing student.

Amazon has put out a safety warning for the gummy bears, because of the large response the reviews generated.

“Consumption of some sugar-free candies may cause stomach discomfort and/or a laxative effect,” Amazon.com stated. “Individual tolerance will vary. If this is the first time you’ve tried these candies, we recommend beginning with one-fourth of a serving size or less. Made with Lycasin, a sugar alcohol. As with other sugar alcohols, people sensitive to this substance may experience upset stomachs.”

Those who have tried the candy all agree that the sugar alcohol product Lycasin can cause varying levels of discomfort depending on the person. However, most reviewers give the flavor of the gummy bears a five-star rating.

“These are just as good as regular gummy bears, a little chewier but great flavor and enough to last you forever,” said Tami Coren, a reviewer from Nebraska.


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